Memorial Day 2020

The sun is out and very bright.

Flags are flying everywhere in sight.

Barbecues coals are starting to glow.

We’re all dressed up with nowhere to go.

The freedoms our heroes died for

Are currently quite out the door.

The government controls are in place

to keep “healthy” masks on our face.

We must keep ourselves distant

so we are all virus resistant.

It is getting to be too much

to hear we must live in fear and such.

My tolerance is at zero.

So I plan to honor a hero

today by taking a long walk,

then finding someone with whom I can talk

about how great life can be every day

because of the lives our heroes lost for the U.S.A.

Slight Shock

She walks her yappy little Laso often. I would say,

early in the morning, again at noon, then later in the day.

Regardless of the hour, come rain or shine,

She gets him out to relieve himself which really is quite fine,


She is no spring chicken; is at least as old as me,

Which means her skin is sagging round her eyes and either knee.

Nothing to be done about that, I am perfectly aware,

But you would think at least once a week she would comb her morning hair;

And pull on a robe, perhaps, to bind her pendulous breasts;

and continue wearing her blue face mask as she reports on her positive tests.

“Oh, don’t mind me,” she said when we met out walking a couple days back

“I’m still in my (short) nightgown. I just don’t care…” I gave her little flack,

But I do wish I would have some warning when she is out and about,

so I could be ready to cover my shock when we meet along the same route.

Sentenced Without Proof

Forty years I worked in busy offices

longed for days of peace and quiet and privacy,

dreamt of uninterrupted hours to read and read and read,

to eat when hungry,

to nap whenever.

This prescribed isolation of two or three or more months, though,

is more than respite,

exceeds relaxation,

tests rejuvenation,

brings on the insanity of rocking back and forth while sitting in place.

This is more than quarantine,

more than looking out for my fellow man.

This is solitary confinement

as in prison.


rJoHerman  5/14/2020


It is the eighth of May

What year does not matter.

The sun is out, the air is fresh

The squirrels are full of chatter.


They rush from branch to limb

chasing each other like mad.

I always expect at least one to fall,

They don’t. That makes me glad.


The chickadees and robins

are busy, busy nesting,

and chirping, and scolding, and holding forth.

They have no time for resting.


The garden fills with bright, new green.

Baby shoots appearing.

Peonies, poppies, iris, too,

Every sprout endearing.


The glory of the Maytime Spring

can never quite erase

the loss of Ruth so long ago.

I miss and miss her face.


I miss her laugh, the things she’d say

that cut you to the core.

But for every snide, sarcastic quip,

there was so much to adore.


She died too young, but did her best

to make it through each day,

Until she actually gave up the ghost

that sunny ninth of May.


I choose to celebrate the eighth,

when she was with us still,

Loving her boys, giving her all,

dying against her will.


So, here’s to you! My little sis.

I know you’d have something to say

’bout me moping around, crying about you

when I’m faced with a beautiful day.


So, I’ll water the plants, and sing something silly

and dance around the deck,

If you will  send down some small, simple sign

That you’re still around, by heck!


I know you are!  😉


rJo Herman 5/8/2020







Emil Catt

He sleeps, but not where I’ve laid out a comfy bed.

No, he sleeps on top of the fresh, yet to be folded laundry.                                                      He snores on the jacket I tossed across the back of the sofa when I came in from getting the mail.

The smooth, cool surface of the coffee table seems a favorite spot,  oblivious to the magazines sliding onto the floor when he stretches out his hind legs.

Yes, he sleeps where he will, and he surely will most of every day.

But come evening, just as the sun starts to settle behind the hills,                                          he yowls, then streaks through the house, bouncing off the walls, dragging at the shutters, chasing shadows of who knows what… low growls and butts heads with toy mice strewn near the fireplace.

Then suddenly exhausted, he lies across the comforter, imagining that he will be allowed to sleep there while I find a spot on the couch.


Have you noticed?

The bright purple house

in the pristine neighborhood.

The yard is a mess.

Here’s the Thing between Angie and Me

It is true that Angelina Jolie and I have never met. And we shall never meet,

but every time I see her lauded for being beautiful, smart, and sweet

I fume.  I mutter.  I shake my head vehemently.

Right now she speaks about the virus.  I am shuddering quite frequently.

Yes, it is uncalled for.  It proves I am self serving.

But listen while I tell you why I find her so unnerving.

Early twenty-thirteen brought my  breast cancer diagnosis.

I studied all my options, and developed a slight neurosis

as I fretted about deciding which way to chose…

Full mastectomy or lumpectomy? which would  make me lose

the greatest sense of confidence heading into the future?

Which would leave me stronger, as they completed each suture?

I chose the complete bilateral.  It seemed the surer choice.

My doctor’s and my friends’ concern were given full, deliberate voice.

And so it was done, and all is well. Life continues without a stall,

Except for moments when some famous chick lays claim to know it all.

See, unbeknownst to me, I mean, I was focused on healing rest,

Angelina famously announced she too had cut off each breast.

She made the announcement, she said in a manner quite bold and brave,

to inspire other women and men to stand up, themselves to save.

At first I thought, that’s good.  She’ll inspire people to be healthy.

She would share her story around the world with the poor and the very wealthy.

She shared the genes that killed her mother, and she wanted people to know,

that they can have preventative surgery before any cancer will show.

I have no doubt her announcement made people stop and think.

It had to, I am very sure.  I even raised a drink

to her good health and our sisterhood – survivors, dressed in pink.

After I recovered, though, I began to stew.

I ran into friends not recently seen.  Not one of them knew

about my diagnosis, or my  almost certain cure.

Most were surprised, and very kind, I am very sure.

But then first one, and then another asked had Angie’s choice influenced mine?

What?  Like I’d cut my body up to mimic her at any time?

Like I would even consider taking such a drastic step

based on the words of a rich, fear filled darling and her marketing rep.

How stupid did they think me, that I was such a sheep

That I would follow Angelina Jolie ’bout anything so deep.

I actually had cancer, and I made my very personal choice,

with input from my daughter with her steady, thoughtful voice.

So I grew to dislike Angie with her life out on full view

She does not speak for me, that’s sure.  Me thinks she speaks for few.

We all have a story, we all know things.

We all must stumble on ahead without input from kings,

or, as in this case, a highly lauded queen,

who made a choice like we all must make when life is cruel and mean.

I know…it’s a sad state of affairs when I fashion an argument with a face on the telly…

but…what the hell

Boys Being Boys

My first inclination was to jump up and run down the stairs and scoop up the boy,

quiet his wailing, and calm his crying brother.

I had been only half listening as they played on the sidewalk below my balcony

while I read the latest NY Review of Books, stretched out near the fireplace

toasting my toes, enjoying the homey afternoon quiet.

They had been laughing,  and hollering,  and perhaps riding a bike or a scooter

when suddenly one bellowed a distress call for everyone to hear.

I stopped before I began to run, realizing his mother would likely not like it,

some strange old woman with this ratty hair and these crooked yellow trifocals

scooping up her boy to comfort him.

Perhaps he is always dramatic, and she would want him to stop immediately,

no sympathy allowed.

Or maybe she would fear I had the virus, or some other crud that could infect him,

stranger danger avowed.

Whatever my hesitation, I let it take command, and I listened to him screech

as his voice wandered down the sidewalk, expecting she would hear.

He most assuredly found her; his shrill voice calmed slightly by a soft murmur.

I admit I chuckled slightly when I heard him SCREAM 


No doubt he had just noticed when she examined his scrape.

His brother was speaking urgently in the background, a scolding no doubt imminent,

warranted or not.

“I said I’m sorry.   I said I’m sorry.  I said I’m…”

Their  door shut.




She knocked on my front door,

that wicked, wicked child

who screams at her mother

and often goes quite wild.

She knocked on my front door,

and then she rang the bell.

She was a bit impatient,

insistent, I could tell.

I stomped across the living room

so she could hear me coming;

opened the door just a crack,

to not appear too welcoming.

“Hi there, ” said I

as I surveyed her face.

She looked at me with huge dark eyes,

no smile…




My God, My God…

Jesus the man knelt alone; tired, in pain and great fear.

He called out for his Father whom He could not see or hear.

Engulfed in deep anguish, He shook as He pleaded,

then no doubt wept as His prayers seemed unheeded.


My God! where are you?   Why, why, why?

They want to kill me!  I do not want to die!

I am your son! I am God!

or maybe not. I am so flawed,

and oh, so weak, and tired and lame.

Please let this cup pass – release me from its claim.


But it did not, would not, could not pass.

God’s plan would never change, alas.


His trial and and punishment, unwarranted, it is true,

were carried out as the mob wished until His life was through.

Then Jesus God rose from the dead, and walked back through the sun

and proved that through His faithfulness His Father’s will was done.




rJo Herman  EASTER  4/12/2020